Coming At Your Life: 2012 Social Media Trends

This article is written with thanks to the marketers on my Marketing Word Twitter list who keep forging ahead with bigger ideas for the biggest companies, and my teenie bopper siblings, who’s tech savvy reminds me I’m only a few steps ahead of the pack.

What’s In:

1. Augmented reality!!!

2010 was the “Year of Social Media”. 2011 was the “Year of Mobile”. 2012, budgets holding, will be the “Year of AR”. This will be the year the offline and online finally blend. PS: Don’t bother with what they say at SXSW. Last year’s predictions from the festival failed to come to fruition. (Namely, QR barcodes). Look at what’s fun/cool. That’s your trend.

2. Social commerce

This is going to happen for three reasons: One, the ability to track customers and spending via the web is increasingly available to smaller businesses through social networks (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare), and software like Sharepoint, Salesforce, Bottlenose, etc,. Two, customers like recommendations from friends. We trust our social network more because we know they care about our happiness, rather than just about making a sale. Three, it’s a successful model as proven by Amazon.

3. Accountability for spending

For the same reason social commerce is becoming easier for businesses, ROI tracking using these softwares is making it easier to justify or debunk spending on social media. Where businesses once employed sales people, they will now be able to hold their web salesteams to quotas and directly attribute spending to revenue increases.

4. Mobile payments

Starbucks is doing it, therefore everyone must. Mobile payments are actually an easy replacement for those annoying retain cards everyone has. With access to your phones, retailers can offer special discounts targeted just to you. They can build a relationship with their customers by always be there. And, Oh, the data, the data. Eventually, retailers and companies will find this a way to save money on debit card processing fees and, truthfully, service associates. It also eliminates some theft risk for merchants.

5. Data analysis

As one hedgefund analyst, turned computer teacher, turned web entrepreneur explained, “If you can do data, you can do anything”. In the science community I manage, I hear the best minds constantly discussing the power of data, and the current challenge in more data than can be efficiently analyzed. I love the above video because of this line, Science is the N-U-Ar-T…data make the data pay. The best software programs and companies like IBM are tackling this challenge. In 2012 and for the next couple years, data analysis jobs will be highly in demand. According to Glassdoor, after processing data from salary postings across the nation, they average $55,000, the same as a finance salary.

6. Streaming television

Amazon’s $75 a year Prime is going to kill it across the board. With the problem of highspeed internet more or less solved, customers will stop wrestling with cable companies offering superfluous channels and horrific service. [Funny story.] The entire social media internet movement was about consumer power. American marketing has a consistent trend to more individualized choice. Streaming video answers this, as Napster did a long time ago, but with a revenue model. And yes, Netflix will pave a path to Hades for the Postal Service and any other company which requires you to leave your home or lick sticky squares of paper.

7. Interactive advertising

Part of AR, interactive advertising covers both the “online” and “offline”. In one of those ironic misspends, a liquid paper company actually came up with the interactive ad story above allowing users to interact with bear. Much like the seldom used DVD “choose your ending” concept, this ad gives users choice in content and engages them with the ad. More fun interactive ads will emerge in the real world, such as the Pedigree Puppy bill board above. One idea I had was if DC’s Ann Taylor bustop ads allowed you to “try-on” the product as you stood there. This technology does exist.

8. Political socialnetworking

It’s 2012. Duh. And vote for Ron Paul if you care about retiring, increasing your salary or your children living in a world power versus a failed state. That’s my 2cents.

9. Meetups

As I sat in a Madison, WI Panera I evesdropped on a sales manager explaining their strategy to one of her staff. “I want you to go see each of your contacts at least once a month. I can’t tell you how many studies have shown the more you see someone the more you like them. Once a month equals twelve times a year! If they see you twelve times a year, they will like you.” Most MeetUps are once a month, building relationships over time through the power of oxcytocin, the bonding hormone you will see me write about a lot a lot.

As we become more immersed in technology, we will continue to long for the more human, more real connections through face-to-face interactions. This is exhibited by Facetime and G-chat, the move toward a more realistic conversational experience. Remember, language developed in the last phases of our evolution. We can’t escape the millenia of evolution behind that which required hormonal and body language communication. This is the power of MeetUps.

*The picture above is of a “Couchsurfing” MeetUp in Hong Kong. MeetUps are becoming huge internationally, especially in countries where community and networks are even stronger than the U.S.


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